A Christmas songs list from WTF…

As Christmas day wanes and I step outside to let the pupdog do his last ablutions before dimming the lights and settling in, I can hear the quietness of the day… It’s as if everything stops and a peaceful calm descends upon the world… at least the part of the world I’m in. And my mind begins to randomly drift and I think scattered thoughts… One of which is: What songs make up the list of songs that I like, and want to hear, as Christmas draws closer and closer? That just make me think… Christmas. Songs that when they caress my auditory senses, my mind just begins to sing along… the words flowing effortlessly.
What makes my list of songs that just gets me all full of Christmassy spirit whether I want to or not… in others words, I listen to the song and I get all warm and fuzzy or sometimes I just go… “Yeah, that’s what Christmas is…

Some are a journey down nostalgia lane…..road… a smaltzy ride into a romanticized version of Christmases past… or, an idealized vison of Christmas never been but yet to be had. Some on the dark side… tinged with a touch of macabre reality… maybe Christmas present? Or, just maybe what Christmas is yet to be but might yet become. But…. still… it never hurts to take a poke at, or even slap down, the walls of conformity.
Some are just… “Hey, it’s Christmas… so what’s wrong with a little peace, love and understanding?”
So, here it is… my top ten list starting with ten and working my way to one and what I consider my favorite Christmas song … and, possibly what I consider the best of them all when taken in the context of the times…

10) “Silent Night, All Day Long” is a track on the album “A John Prine Christmas”. It’s just a nice folk blues song… quiet and mellow… and, just a tad on the melancholy side.

“Silent Night All day Long”
There’s a pine tree in a window in a house on a hillalbum-a-john-prine-christmas
With a tree top angel sitting perfectly still
She’s watching the shoppers walk through the snow
With their arms full of treasures and hearts all aglow
We held hands and stared at the lights on the tree
As if Christmas was invented for you and for me
When the angel on the treetop requested a song
We sang, “Silent night all day long”
There’s a family that’s gathered in some living room
Dinner on the table that’s been cooking since noon
Stockings on the mantle are hanging with care
While every body is saying a prayer
We held hands and stared at the lights on the tree
As if Christmas was invented for you and for me
When the angel on the treetop requested a song
We sang, “Silent night all day long”
There’s a room out there somewhere with a woman in a chair
With memories of childhood still lingering there
How pretty the paper, the lights and the snow
How precious those memories of long, long ago
We held hands and stared at the lights on the tree
As if Christmas was invented for you and for me
When the angel on the treetop requested a song
We sang, “Silent night all day long”
When the angel on the treetop requested a song
We sang, “Silent Night all day long”

Songwriters: John Prine; Bobby Whitlock; Published by WEONA MUSIC

Ya want Christmas classics with that old time feeling and maybe a tad on the sweet and sugary side? Then, the next three songs are right up your alley…

9) “The Christmas Song” (commonly subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” or, as it was originally subtitled, “Merry Christmas to You”) is a classic Christmas song written in in 1944.

Nat King Cole first recorded the song early in 1946. A second version was made later the same year utilizing a strings section and this became a big hit on both the pop and R&B charts.

Cole went on to make two more version, in 1953 and then in 1961. The 1961 version is probably the version most folks are most familiar with. Regardless the version, the song just oozes romantic visions and feelings of Christmas warmth… and Cole’s voice is the perfect vehicle for that nostalgic Christmas warm cozy feeling.

“The Christmas Song”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOszvL9lgSs)

Nat-King-Cole-The-Christmas-SongChestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight
They know that Santa’s on his way
He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
And every mother’s child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly
And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety two
Although it’s been said many times,
Many ways, Merry Christmas to you
And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times
Many ways, Merry Christmas to you

Songwriters: Robert Wells & Mel Tormé; Published by © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd

8) “White Christmas” is another nostalgic Christmas song and yeah its sorta smaltzy just like the aforementioned Christmas Song but the song just always seems to get me in the Christmassy mood whenever I hear it. According to Guinness World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide.  Combined with the multitude of other version of the song that have been recorded the total exceeds over 100 million copies.

The song White Christmas was originally featured in the movie 1942 movie Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby. The song and recording of White Christmas by Bing Crosby was so popular that it was reprised in the movie called after its name… White Christmas (1952). The film White Christmas once again starred Bing Crosby together with Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.

“White Christmas”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJSUT8Inl14)

bing-white-christmasI’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all
Your Christmases be white
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases
May all your Christmases
May all your Christmases
May all your Christmases be white
I’m dreaming of a white
Christmas with you
Jingle Bells
All the way, all the way

Songwriters: Grace Price & Robert Lee Black; Published by © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, IMAGEM U.S. LLC

7) Ya want a Christmas classic with that old time feeling? then here it is an old staid, familiar and classic Christmas song…

“Silver Bells” was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, (1951). The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards, released by Decca Records in October 1950. After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to refilm a more elaborate production of the song

“Silver Bells”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZeAImrvtqw)

Silver%20Bells[Silver bells, silver bells]
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling [ring-a-ling],
Hear them ring [ting-a-ling]
Soon it will be Christmas day.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas
[Children laughing,
People passing,
Meeting smile after smile]
And on every street corner you’ll hear

Silver bells, [Silver bells] Silver bells, [silver bells]
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling [ring-a-ling],
Hear them ring [hear them ring]
Soon it will be Christmas day.

[Strings of streetlights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
Home with their treasures

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids rush
This is Santa’s big day
And above all this bustle you’ll hear

Silver bells] the corner Santa Claus,
[Silver bells], it’s busy now because
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, [it fills the winter air]
Hear them ring (you’ll hear it everywhere]
Soon it will be Christmas day.

City sidewalks, [silver bells] busy sidewalks,
[Silver bells] Dressed in holiday style
In the air [It’s Christmas time in the city]
There’s a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing, [ring-a-ling]
People passing, [Hear them ring]
Meeting smile after smile
Very soon it will be Christmas day

Songwriters: Ray Evans & Jay Livingston; Published by © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

6) Ya want irreverence… wry humor… a twist to conformity? Then, what better place to get it from than a venue called “Saturday Night Live”?

From a December 2005 SNL show, an irreverent take on what the hell goes on in the Big Apple when the Gentiles shut down their activities to go celebrate Christmas day… all from a Jewish point of view.

Sung by one of the greatest R&B/Rock & Roll voices from back in the day… Ms. Darlene Love.

“Christmastime for the Jews”
(http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/the-greatest-rock-and-roll-christmas-songs-20101216/darlene-love-christmastime-for-the-jews-0692805)

SNLOn Christmas Eve the Gentiles gather ‘round the Christmas tree.
They stay at home and party with their goyishe family.
They disappear one day each year and pass the eggnog ‘round,
but it’s all right, ‘cause that’s the night the Jews control the town.

Well it happens every year on Christmas Eve.
All the happy Christian people take their leave.
Yeah, the streets are deserted and that’s big news:
It’s Christmastime for the Jews.

Yeah, the Holiday party starts ‘bout 6 PM.
Ain’t nobody recreating Bethlehem
Yeah, the three wise men, that’s a big old snooze.
[Note: they recreate the cast of Seinfeld]
Christmastime for the Jews.

They can finally see King Kong without waiting in line.
They can eat in Chinatown and drink their sweetest wine.
They can crank Barbara Streisand on the streets they cruise.
Christmastime for the Jews.

They can gang up on the Quakers, play for the Lakers,
they can do what they wanna, even Vogue Madonna.
Get a chance to drive a tractor, win on Fear Factor,
See Fiddler on the Roof with actual Jewish actors…

Now they really get the party going after dark,
Circumcising grateful squirrels in the city park,
Picking fights in the bars, knowing they can’t lose.
Christmastime for the Jews.

Now it’s nearly 10:30. Yes, it’s time for bed,
Daily Show reruns dancing in their heads.
Maybe next year they’ll learn how to hold their booze.
Christmastime for the Jews.
Have some water
Christmastime for the Jews.
Don’t get sick now.
Christmastime for the Jews.
Sleep it off, yeah.

by Robert Smigel, Matt O’Brien, Eric Drysdale, Julie Klausner

5) “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and recorded by another old time classic Rock & Roll voice… Brenda Lee.

Despite her mature-sounding voice, Lee recorded this song when she was only thirteen years old. And, despite the song’s title, its instrumentation also fits the country music genre, which Brenda Lee more fully embraced as her career evolved. The recording features Hank Garland’s ringing guitar and Boots Randolph’s swinging solo sax break. And it’s still rock and roll to me…

“Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnIqLlBwzrc)

brenda leeYou will get a sentimental feeling
When you hear voices singing
“Let’s be jolly; Deck the halls with boughs of holly”
Rocking around the Christmas Tree
Have a happy holiday
Everyone’s dancing merrily
In a new old fashioned way
Rocking around the Christmas Tree
Let the Christmas Spirit ring
Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie
and we’ll do some caroling
You will get a sentimental feeling
When you hear voices singing
“Let’s be jolly; Deck the halls with boughs of holly”
Rocking around the Christmas Tree
Have a happy holiday
Everyone’s dancing merrily
In the new old fashioned way

Songwriter: Johnny Marks; Published by © ST. NICHOLAS MUSIC INC.

4) Another Rocker, albeit a tad more modern than back from the 50s and 60s, is a Christmas song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It was written by Tom Petty and was originally  featured on A Very Special Christmas 2, which is an ongoing series of Christmas music compilation albums that benefit Special Olympics.

“Christmas All Over Again”

A+Very+Special+Christmas+2Well, it’s Christmas time again
Decorations are all hung by the fire
Everybody’s singin’, all the bells are ringing out
And it’s Christmas all over again, yeah, again
Long distance relatives
Haven’t seen ’em in a long, long time
Yeah, I kind of missed ’em, I just don’t wanna kiss ’em, no
It’s Christmas all over again, yeah, again
And all over town, little kids gonna get down
And Christmas is a rockin’ time, put your body next to mine
Underneath the mistletoe we go, we go
Everybody’s singin’, all the bells are ringin’ out
It’s Christmas all over again, yeah, again
And right down our block, little kids start to rock
And Christmas is a rockin’ time, put your body next to mine
Underneath the mistletoe we go, we go
Merry Christmas time come and find you happy
And there by your fire, I hope you have a good one
I hope momma gets her shoppin’ done
And it’s a Christmas all over again
Baby, it’s Christmas all over again
And it’s Christmas all over again
Now let’s see, I want a new Rickenbacker guitar
Two Fender bassmans
Chuck Berry songbooks, xylophone

Songwriter: Tom Petty; Published by © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

3) Ya’ll want old time classic but with a very modern update? Here’s a version of one of the most classic of Christmas songs there is by rocker Bruce Springsteen…

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xOe4GRyebo)

springsteen 2Intro: It’s all cold down along the beach
The wind’s whipping down the boardwalk
Hey band!
(Yeah? Hey, babe!) You guys know what time of year it is?
(Yeah!) What time, huh? What? (Christmas time!)
What? (Christmas time!) Oh, Christmas time!
You guys all, you guys all been good and practicing real hard?
Yeah? Clarence, you been, you been rehearsing real hard now,
So Santa’ll bring you a new saxophone, right?
Everybody out there been good, or what?
Oh, that’s not many, not many, you guys are in trouble out here!
Come on.

You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry
You’d better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice
He’s gonna find out whose naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows if you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
(So you’d)
Better be good for goodness sake
Better be good for goodness sake
You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry
You’d better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows if you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
(So you’d)
Better be good for goodness sake
Better be good for goodness sake
You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry
You’d better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

Songwriters: J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie; Published by © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, MEMORY LANE MUSIC GROUP

2) “Christmas” is a Christmas holiday song originally sung in 1963 by Darlene Love and included on the 1963 Christmas compilation album, A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records. The song was written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry along with Phil Spector, with the intentions of being sung by Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes. According to Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector was not able to put as much emotion into the song as needed. Instead, Love was brought into the studio to record the song which became a big success over time and one of Love’s signature tunes. Love as I said earlier is classic R&B/Rock & Roll… listen to her sing this song and you will instanteously understand why I say that…

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
http://www.last.fm/music/Darlene+Love/_/Christmas+(Baby+Please+Come+Home)

darlene love(Christmas) The snow’s coming down
(Christmas) I’m watching it fall
(Christmas) Lots of people around
(Christmas) Baby please come home
(Christmas) The church bells in town
(Christmas) All ringing in song
(Christmas) Full of happy sounds
(Christmas) Baby please come home
They’re singing “Deck The Halls”
But it’s not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year
(Christmas) Pretty lights on the tree
(Christmas) I’m watching them shine
(Christmas) You should be here with me
(Christmas) Baby please come home
They’re singing “Deck The Halls”
But it’s not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here
And all the fun we had last year
(Christmas) If there was a way
(Christmas) I’d hold back this tear
(Christmas) But it’s Christmas day
(Please) Please (Please) Please
(Please) Please (Please) Please
(Please) Please (Please) Please
Baby please come home

Music and lyrics by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Phil Spector.

Tied for number 2 on my list is a popular Christmas song first released by Bobby Helms in 1957. It has received frequent airplay in the United States during every Christmas season since then…

“Jingle Bell Rock”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpxNNalLTB4)

jingle bell rock 1Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancin’ and prancin’ in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air
What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away
Jingle bell time is a swell time
To go glidin’ in a one-horse sleigh
Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet
Jingle around the clock
Mix and a-mingle in the jinglin’ beat
That’s the jingle bell rock, yeah
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring
Snowin’ and blowin’ up bushels of fun
Now, the jingle hop has begun
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell twist
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancin’ and prancin’ in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air
What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away
Jingle bell time is a swell time
To go glidin’ in a one-horse sleigh
Giddy-up jingle horse, kick up your feet
Jingle around the clock
Mix and a-mingle in the jinglin’ feet
That’s the jingle bell, that’s the jingle bell,
that’s the jingle bell rock

Songwriters: Joe Beale/James Ross Boothie; Published by © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

And my number 1 Christmas song is…. a song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, released in 1971 as a single by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir. It was the seventh single release by Lennon outside of his work with the Beatles. The song reached number 4 in the UK, where its release was delayed until November 1972, and has periodically reemerged on the UK Singles Chart, most notably after Lennon’s death in 1980, at which point it peaked at number 2.

It was originally conceived as a protest song against the Vietnam War, but, has since become a Christmas standard, frequently covered by other artists, appearing on compilation albums of seasonal music, and named in many polls as a holiday favorite…

“Happy Christmas (War is Over)”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN4Uu0OlmTg)

lennonSo, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Lets hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over
If you want it
War is over
Now
So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Lets hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over
If you want it
War is over
Now

Songwriters: John Lennon & Yoko; Published by ONO MUSIC;LENONO MUSIC

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night… Peace…to-all-a-good-night

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Comments

comments

1 Comment

  1. A good list, Joe. I nominate a couple from a cartoonist who loved Christmas but hated the commercialism of it. I am referring to Walt Kelly, of course, and here are his efforts:

    Deck us all with Boston Charley,
    Walla Walla, Wash. and Kalamazoo.
    Nora’s freezing on the trolley.
    Swalla Dolla cauliflower, allagaroo.

    Don we now archaic barrel,
    Luluby, lullaby, Louisville Lou.
    Go downtown but don’t meet Harold
    Swalla Dolla cauliflower, allagaroo.

    (Alternative, there is:

    Good Kind Saurkraut looked out
    On his feets uneven.
    Though the snoo lay ’round about
    . . .
    What’s “snoo?”

    I donno. What’s new with you?)

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